OAKLEY, Idaho – A potato farmer’s effort to give away his excess crop is getting international attention.
Ryan Cranney, the CEO of Cranney Farms has seen a number of his restaurant clients cancel orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Demand went down as people were forced to stay home,” Cranney said. “It’s been really crazy.”
Cranney estimates his farm produces upwards of 3 million sacks of potatoes each year. The current lack of demand left him with about 7,000 bags of his product with no place to send them.
Cranney decided to give them away. He wrote a message on social media telling people to come and take what they need.
“I just placed them out on the ground, had the idea to see if people want them. Let’s give them away,” Cranney said.
The response was tremendous. People drove from hours away and took car loads and truck loads full of potatoes to deliver to their neighbors and food banks.
“We have had a lot from the Salt Lake area, Logan, Tremonton,” Cranney said. “It’s just something to do for somebody else. It’s not going to be harmful, so they roar out here from 3 to 4 hours away and gather potatoes and give them to people in need.”
He’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
“The real story in this is not what we did, but how people reacted to this and what they have done,” Cranney said.
This was just a small portion of Cranney’s crop. The act of giving, coupled with some signs of recovery, is giving him hope that a turnaround isn’t very far away.
“This is something that got them excited about going out and doing good things,” Cranney said. “I am more optimistic now than I was two weeks ago.”
The farm isn’t asking for any payment. They still have some potatoes left to give away. Cranney has set up a GoFundMe page and he asks anyone who enjoys the potatoes and can spare a few dollars, to donate to a family in need.